Bellevue PD Chief: Confidence in investigation of Seahawks’ Derrick Coleman is ‘rock solid’
The Bellevue Police Chief said his confidence level in the case his department has put together against Derrick Coleman is “rock solid” and defended his officers’ approach to investigating the Seahawks’ fullback.
In a press conference Tuesday, BPD Chief Steve Mylett said officers treated Coleman like any other citizen following a two-vehicle crash on Oct. 14 and that there is strong evidence for recommending felony charges of vehicular assault and hit-and-run to the King County Prosecutor’s office, which will ultimately decide whether or not to file them.
“My confidence level is rock solid,” Mylett said. “I believe that our investigators collected physical evidence, witness statements and statements that Mr. Coleman made himself to prove our case.”
Mylett said the press conference Bellevue Police held after Coleman’s arrest was because of the “very heavy” interest from the media. He said several media outlets requested all documents related to this investigation.
“We are obligated under Washington state law to release documents that are of public record when requests are made,” he said.
Mylett noted that officers ended up drawing Coleman’s blood about six hours after the accident, which is “very difficult to detect” and “could be” a reason his toxicology reports came back clean. In addition to the drugs found at the scene, plus Coleman’s admission that he smoked synthetic marijuana, Mylett said he was confident in his officer’s ability to testify about his observations as a drug expert.
Mylett took offense to statements by Coleman’s attorney that Bellevue police released documents to the media and public as an effort to defame his client. Mylett said the attorney, Steve Hayne, crossed the line when he attacked the integrity of the police department’s employees.
“His assertions are baseless and offensive,” Mylett said. “Throughout this investigation, my officers were nothing more than professional, methodical and complete in their approach to investigating this crime.
“I understand the role that he plays in this investigation and I respect the role he plays,” Mylett added. “When he uses language such as that to accomplish his goal of salvaging his client’s reputation, he shouldn’t be doing that to this police department.”
As for the timing of the announcement – eight days after the Seahawks’ season ended – Mylett said that up until a few days before filing the case, officers were still looking at data and conferring with experts in the field of collision reconstruction.
“We have toxicology reports, we’re getting forensic data from the vehicles,” he said. “This is not an unreasonable amount of time for these types of investigations.”
He said there was no manipulation of the timing of the recommendation and that Coleman’s race and affiliation with the Seahawks had no role in the investigation whatsoever.
“We have no motivation to manipulate any investigation for any group, any individual, period. We wouldn’t do that,” he said.
“If you walked around my police department, you are gonna see the No. 12 banner hanging throughout my employees’ cubicles. There are a lot of Seahawks fans in this police department. But their responsibility in investigating crimes – no matter who the individual is and who they’re affiliated with – is beyond reproach.”
Mylett made it clear that officers were following the evidence in this case.
“Derrick Coleman was not the most important individual that my investigators were investigating,” he said. “He was a member of the public that was treated exactly how we treat everybody else, regardless with his affiliation with the Seahawks.”